Last week two of my surprises in Blake Bortles and Kenyan Drake hit in a big way, while Sterling Shepard offered some nice production. It comes at a good time as for many, this signifies the first week of the fantasy football playoffs. While some may have a bye (which I never really understood) coming for some this week, it’s important for those who are playing to stick with what got you there and eliminate any chances of potentially overthinking.
If a backup has a great matchup or you’re dealing with injuries, go ahead and make a change. Just know that in the event this is your last fantasy game of the season, it’s much easier to go with players you’ve trusted as a move that backfires could be stuck in your head until next season.
QB: Jimmy Garoppolo vs Texans: Along with becoming your mom or significant other’s favorite young quarterback, Garoppolo on the field showed plenty of reasons for 49ers fans to be optimistic. While injuries have thinned out what would be his supporting cast, Garoppolo clearly showed the ability to move the ball in Kyle Shanahan’s offense. Now he gets a Texan defense which has also been hit by its share of injuries and is thin in the secondary. While they might not light up the scoreboard, Garoppolo’s projected volume makes him an intriguing daily fantasy option. Expect around 240 yards and two touchdowns.
RB: Giovani Bernard vs Bears: It has been an interesting career for Bernard to this point. As a rookie, he was a fantasy darling as the Bengals’ lead back and as a pass catcher. The next few seasons he started sharing carries with Jeremy Hill before ultimately suffering a torn ACL. Entering 2017, Bernard was behind Hill and newly drafted Joe Mixon on the depth chart.
Now, Hill is done for the year, and Mixon is out this week with a concussion he suffered on Monday night. Bernard will have plenty of opportunities against an inconsistent Bears defense in a game that projects to have a favorable game-flow. Bernard can be locked in as a 2nd running back or flex option in all leagues, and makes for a nice play in daily fantasy as well. Expect around 110 total yards and a touchdown.
WR: Marquise Goodwin vs Texans: If you want a guy who can swing a fantasy playoff game, look no further than Goodwin who was Garoppolo’s top target last week. Goodwin hauled in all eight of his targets for 99 yards, but he wasn’t able to show off his Olympic caliber speed. While fantasy owners in PPR league’s would gladly take a repeat of last week, the chance of Garoppolo and Goodwin connecting on a deep score is what’s worth betting on. Expect around 80 yards and a touchdown.
TE: Stephen Anderson vs 49ers: Despite little to no national attention surrounding it, games like this 49ers/Texans one are what could really swing fantasy leagues. This time of year lesser known players taking on bigger roles can swing a title, and Anderson would apply. A former college receiver, Anderson was targeted 12 times last week and with the other Texan tight ends banged up, should see plenty of playing time. The 12 targets is unlikely, but in a favorable matchup with top tight ends such as Rob Gronkowski out, he’s worth a look. Expect around 50 yards and a touchdown.
K: Travis Coons vs Redskins: The Chargers are now on their third kicker of the season, but Coons provides something I look for in fantasy kickers. That would be opportunity, on top of what should be a game that won’t have attempts potentially altered by the environment. The Redskins defense has been inconsistent of late, so with a hot Chargers offense, Coons is a kicker that’s available in many leagues that could give you a boost. Expect around two field goals and three extra points.
DEF: Jets vs Broncos: Considering on Sunday they just allowed 31 points and nearly 500 total yards of offense, playing the Jets defense might not be for the faint of heart. Then again, neither is watching the Broncos quarterback play in 2017. If you’re willing to gamble, you could do worse than going against a team with a struggling offensive line and a quarterback in Trevor Siemian who has thrown seven interceptions in his last four appearances. Expect around three sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery.